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poised to have another stab at the UK market this year, and has now taken dis- tribution rights back from 4Kids, with a new partner set to be announced. Meanwhile Rainbow, founded by Iginio Straffi, is to launch what it hopes will be its next big thing, Poppixie. The 52x13minute spin-off show is based on some well-received characters that appeared in Winx Club series two. Poppixie’s prime target is 5-to-8 year- olds and, perhaps thanks to the strength of Winx performance, has already secured deals with France Télévisions, Portugal’s Canal Panda, RAI in Italy, K- Net in South Africa and Nova in Israel. Hryniewicz adds that there are more male characters in the new show in a bid to snare the boys – a demographic prov- ing to be increasingly elusive, particular- ly for shows aimed at under-tens - and the preschool market.

“Preschool broadcasters appear to be losing their audience at a younger age. The boys are moving over to action ani- mated shows such as Ben 10 and Spiderman,” notes Curtis Jobling, a UK- based illustrator, author and kids TV cre- ator still best known for his role as designer of Bob the Builder. With this trend in mind, Jobling is working on a new ‘bridging’ show, Super School, with HIT Entertainment, the company first responsible for launch- ing Bob. Set in a CGI animated school for superheros and aimed at reception- aged primary school kids, the show promises plenty of action and a mix of girl/boy characters.

Having set up his own production company, Bada Bling, Jobling is also working on his own creation Rah Rah!,

ZingZillas - a TV smash in the making

The first fully formed coproduction between BBC WorldWide and CBeebies in-house pro- duction department, the idea for ZingZillas (pictured) arose four years ago, when former CBeebies controller Michael Carrington start- ed looking for a show that would introduce 4- to-6 year-olds to the world of music. Spearheaded by Kay Benbow (then head of production at CBeebies, now channel con- troller), the final idea was formed by BBC development staff Steven Cannon and Alan Robinson and is series produced by Tony Reed. The 52-part series focuses on a band of pri-

mate friends (carefully bespoke animatronics puppets) who live on a tropical island. Each episode is designed to introduce its audience to a new type of music (there are 51 genres in the first series - the 52nd being a ‘best of’show).

Guests include flautist James Galway, didgeridoo player Dhinawan and the BBC Concert Orchestra, which also performs the opening title sequence. The fact that 52 episodes were commis- sioned straight out of the gate meant it was a property BBC WorldWide could really get behind.

Ross Russell adds that the show also lends

which he describes as “a noisy preschool stop-motion puppet show set in the Jingly Jangly Jungle”.

A 52-episode series has been commis- sioned by CBeebies and the show has received investment too from its puppet- makers and producers Mackinnon & Saunders and Bob the Builder creator Keith Chapman’s company Chapman Entertainment.

In non-subsidised territories, copro- ductions are increasingly common as TV investment decreases. Spanish producer and distributor Imira, has high hopes for its 52x12minute-animated coproduction Lucky Fred, about a boy whose every wish is granted by a super-cool shape- changing robot.

A comedy that uses the city of DHX’s Animal Mechanicals 8TBI Kids June/July 2010

itself well to the international marketplace because only a small proportion needs dub- bing (around six minutes per episode) and its ‘World Music’element holds universal appeal. ZingZillas’potential in terms of brand exten- sions includes marketing the original music, composed by Chris Banks and bought out entirely by BBCWW. Vivid imagination now owns the master toy

license with other partners including Penguin and BBCWW’s DVD arm,2Entertain. “In terms of how we develop the brand,we

have every intention of managing the ZingZillas as the first rock band for preschool- ers, performing live around the country this year and attending festivals next year,”he says.

Barcelona as a backdrop, the show is a coproduction between Imira Entertainment, TV Catalunya and RAI. Early indications for Lucky Fred are good: it’s presold to TF1 in France, Disney in Australia and all of Nickelodeon’s Latin territories. Imira chief executive Sergi Reitg says: “The only way to make money [from Lucky Fred] was to do it as a coproduc- tion, with further money from interna- tional presales as well as using money from our own company.”

Reitg adds that merchandising is also becoming ever more important to recoup the investment his company has made. Distributors too are also trying to make their money through licensing and mer- chandising as opposed to straight TV acquisitions. Australia’s Beyond Entertainment is

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